What is cloud computing and why you can benefit from IT?

“Cloud computing” has been around for over 40 years, and grown wildly popular in the past decade.  Information is now easier to access from just about anywhere around the planet.

First, let’s first define the “cloud”.  The cloud is another name for the internet,  a global network of remote computers.  Diagrams are used to show how computers  are networked to each other.  It would be very hard to draw a diagram of all the connected computers of the internet.  The symbol of a cloud is used in diagrams to represent the internet.  Diagrams are much easier to understand by drawing a cloud to show where devices are connected to the internet.  The cloud is used to store, manage, and process data in place of local servers or personal computers. 

Cloud computing is the practice of using the combined computing power of the internet.  Access to this power is possible from more devices and places than ever before.  It was invented by Joseph Carl Robnett Licklider, in the 1960’s.  Licklider wanted to connect people and data from anywhere at any time.  The project he worked on was known as ARPANET.  This network of computers has grown to become the internet.  Using this global network to connect people, data, goods, and services is known as “cloud computing”.

There are many beneficial aspects of cloud computing, for both businesses and personal use.  One of the benefits is lowered investment costs. Money can be saved by not having to purchase expensive computer server and network hardware.  IaaS (Infrastructure as a Service) is computer equipment owned and hosted by online providers. These providers rent these resources, data storage and networking capabilities, to customers as needed. These capabilities cost much less to rent than own.  It is easier to scale your cloud computing power as your needs increase.  Computer repairs and maintenance costs are also significantly lowered.  Cheaper hardware can be used to get online and take advantage of this power.  

Another benefit of cloud computing is lowered operating costs.  Both time and money are saved by using applications hosted online.  SaaS (Software as a Service) is software and applications, owned, delivered and managed remotely online.   This is provided for a fraction of the overall cost of ownership. You no longer have to hire the IT people needed to install, debug and update software.  Also, the need for virus and malware removal is nearly eliminated.  Maintenance is done on the cloud server.  This is typically included with the rental costs.  SaaS providers are able to further discount their services. They host their virtual environments from places with lower costs.

Productivity increases can also be experienced.  Time can be saved by providing global access to data (documents, media, records, etc.).   Data can be shared, with secured access, and collaborated on in real-time.  Internet enabled devices allow computing  from anywhere you can get online.  Virtual office space lets people be more productive with their time, regardless of their location.

Data can be kept synchronized across many devices.  Changes being saved as they occur.  This data can also be made available if you can’t get online.  Offline changes can automatically be saved once the internet is restored.  This is essentially an automatic backup.

The current top three cloud computing platforms each have their own pros and cons. They are Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure and Google Cloud Platform (GCP).  These companies hold a commanding position among many cloud companies.  Each of these have free options to explore.

Seemingly endless benefits can be obtained through the use of cloud computing.  Security should be a concern when computing, whether locally, or in the cloud.  Steps should be taken to ensure the integrity and security of your data. The use of strong passwords,  two-factor authentication (2FA), local  backup copies, and personnel training, can help.  TekNow Services is here if you need help with your migration to the cloud, as we continue making technology work for you.  See you in the cloud!

Michael Pearce
TekNow Services
Sebastian, Florida